John Fanta’s 2023 March Madness response: Recap of the motion on wild Day 1

It’s among the finest days within the sports activities — the opening of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament — and I’ll be right here to comply with each single recreation with reside evaluation, movies and extra.

But first, be sure to take a look at a number of key gadgets: our NCAA Tournament bracket, NCAA Tournament schedule, 50 causes to be excited for March Madness and prime performs of the primary spherical.

Let’s get to it.

15. Princeton 59, 2. Arizona 55

Exclusive: Interview with Princeton star: Tosan Evbuomwan

“We never give up, we never count ourselves out,” stated Evbuomwan in an unique interview after the Tigers’ gorgeous upset.

In addition to discussing how the Tigers held Arizona scoreless within the closing 4 minutes of the sport, Evbuoman additionally talked about his uncommon origin story, because the 22-year-old from England did not begin enjoying basketball till he was “about 14.”

Check out the total interview right here:

Breakdown of Princeton’s victory:

In 1996, Mitch Henderson was one in every of Pete Carril’s starters because the Thirteenth-seeded Princeton Tigers knocked off defending nationwide champion and 4th-seeded UCLA within the Hall of Famer’s closing season. 

On Thursday afternoon in Sacramento, Henderson was on the sidelines teaching his alma mater when it once more surprised the school basketball world. 

In the March Madness following Carril’s passing, Princeton has captured the magic of the game, overcoming a 10-point deficit with eight minutes left and gorgeous 2nd-seeded Arizona. 

The Tigers, who superior within the NCAA Tournament for the primary time in 25 years, made it three consecutive seasons {that a} 15-seed has defeated a 2-seed within the huge dance, and a second straight yr that the 15 has hailed from New Jersey (Saint Peter’s).

How did Princeton pull off the shocker? 

With elite protection within the dwelling stretch, because the Tigers held the Wildcats scoreless within the closing 4:43 and closed the sport on a 9-0 run. With Princeton down 55-52, senior guard Ryan Langborg rose to the event in his dwelling state of California, notching back-to-back buckets to tug the Tigers forward with two minutes on the clock. That protection didn’t waver, holding Arizona’s perimeter trio of Courtney Ramey, Kerr Kriisa and Pelle Larsson to 6-for-20 from the ground and the Wildcats as a staff to 3-for-16 from downtown. 

This wasn’t the everyday upset the place David beats Goliath behind red-hot 3-point taking pictures or one thing out of the odd. It was a easy case of the Tigers out-defending Arizona and forcing them to powerful pictures on the perimeter.

Plus, the Tigers had essentially the most impactful participant on the ground: Tosan Evbuomwan.

The senior from England, who didn’t begin studying the sport of basketball till he was 13, willed Princeton all through the day, scoring 15 factors to associate with seven rebounds and 4 assists. 

Evbuomwan has gone from being completely off the recruiting map on the age of 17, to his coach sending blind emails to completely different faculties throughout the nation that specialised in excessive lecturers, to successful an NCAA Tournament recreation for an Ivy League faculty.

The Tigers placed on the most recent nice show of March, whereas Arizona ended the season with a thump after successful the Pac-12 Tournament. 

It’s a disappointing finish for a Wildcats squad that spent a lot of the season within the prime 5 of the AP ballot, however there’s additionally a much bigger image to contemplate — the large winner right here is Alabama, as 2-seed Arizona and 4-seed Virginia have been bounced within the South Region. The 3-seed, Baylor, is in motion on Friday however will likely be one other staff on upset alert with a harmful UC Santa Barbara staff standing of their means.

The Crimson Tide’s path seemed straightforward on paper, and it’s certain enjoying out that means already.

10. Penn State 76, 7. Texas A&M 59

The Tenth-seeded Nittany Lions could have been seeded too low. 

The Big Ten Tournament runner-up capped off a stable 3-2 day for the convention, working Texas A&M off the ground for Penn State’s first NCAA Tournament win since 2001.

If there is a takeaway on this recreation, it is clear: Penn State University athletic director Patrick Kraft and his board ought to again up the Brinks truck for Micah Shrewsberry, who’s being courted by Georgetown, Notre Dame and others on the pinnacle teaching carousel. 

The Nittany Lions did not simply win on Thursday night time. They dominated the Aggies, and did it with Bucknell fifth-year switch Andrew Funk, who went off for a season-high 27 factors and hit eight of Penn State’s 13 triples within the rout.

On the defensive finish, the Nittany Lions shut down Texas A&M star Wade Taylor IV, who was held to only 2-for-15 from the ground. 

Penn State attracts Texas on Saturday, and I might not be stunned one bit if the Nittany Lions are on this recreation. The Longhorns have been rolling, however perimeter taking pictures is the place the system begins to knock them off. 

2. UCLA 86, 15. UNC Asheville 53

No Bona? No Clark? No drawback.

“We don’t take losing lightly.”

Those had been the phrases of fourth-year UCLA head coach Mick Cronin on Thursday night time throughout his in-game TV broadcast interview on Thursday night time. 

The Bruins had been decided, rocking 15-seed UNC Asheville 86-53 to advance to the second spherical of the NCAA Tournament, the place they’ll meet Northwestern in Sacramento on Saturday. 

With Jaylen Clark performed for the yr and Adem Bona nonetheless out with a shoulder damage, there have been some considerations with UCLA heading into the NCAA Tournament. 

Thursday night time, the Bruins had been all enterprise, displaying {that a} Pac-12 championship recreation loss to Arizona could have been an excellent factor for this staff to refocus. Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Amari Bailey every had 17 factors whereas Tyger Campbell went for 10 assists within the dominant efficiency. 

With Bona nonetheless out, Kenneth Nwuba and Mac Etienne mixed for 20 factors on 9-for-9 from the ground. UCLA may use Bona again on Saturday, and he was a game-time resolution on Thursday night time. I might count on we see him in some capability this weekend. 

The Bruins play a gritty Northwestern staff, however one which they need to have an excellent probability of getting by due to their defensive capabilities and the duo of Jaquez and Campbell. The rise of Bailey has come into play as a variable that provides them a Final Four ceiling as properly. 

1. Houston 63, 16. Northern Kentucky 52

Houston survived and superior, however as a 1-seed, there can’t be optimism surrounding the Cougars heading into Saturday’s matchup with 9-seed Auburn in Birmingham. 

Kelvin Sampson elected to play Marcus Sasser, however he reinjured his groin and solely performed 14 minutes in Thursday night time’s win over Northern Kentucky. Without a wholesome Sasser, the Cougars are lacking an All-American expertise and their chief. They simply don’t have the identical pop, and though they wore down the Norse, they turned the ball over 17 instances.

The positives: Potential NBA Draft lottery choose Jarace Walker had 16 factors and 6 rebounds in his March Madness debut whereas his classmate Emanuel Sharp hit back-to-back key triples to push the cushion to 9 with simply over 10 minutes left. J’wan Roberts posted his eighth double-double of the season within the victory. 

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The challenge? Johni Broome and Auburn await after a commanding efficiency over Iowa. If Sasser remains to be in ache and never full go, the Cougars may wrestle vs. the Tigers’ top-30 protection. If NKU compelled 17 turnovers, it does pose a priority for Sampson’s staff on Saturday in what’s going to basically be a highway recreation.

The level? Whether it’s them, I consider a 1-seed is falling this weekend and the probabilities for Auburn simply elevated based mostly on what we noticed tonight.

4. Tennessee 58, 13. Louisiana 55

We noticed each side of Tennessee on Thursday night time, why they’re are a pest to play, and why they can not actually be trusted within the NCAA Tournament.

Rick Barnes’ staff led Sun Belt Conference champion Louisiana by 18 with 12:50 on the clock. Credit to the Ragin’ Cajuns, as a result of they proceeded to go on a 16-3 run to tug inside 5 of the Vols at 48-43 with 7:29 left. 

But sophomore Jahmai Mashack stepped up late, ending with 11 factors, and Tyreke Key led the way in which with 12 as Tennessee gutted out a 3-point victory. The Vols superior to the second spherical for the fourth time within the final 5 NCAA Tournaments. 

The unhealthy information for Tennessee: Duke, which has gained 10 straight video games and rolled previous Oral Roberts, awaits the Vols on Saturday.

A giant key for the Vols: Santiago Vescovi has to play higher on Saturday after being held to only three factors by Louisiana. The Zakai Zeigler ACL damage for this group has been tough to beat, and I see their run ending Saturday. 

5. Duke 74, 12. Oral Roberts 51

Duke is enjoying a lot better than a typical 5-seed

The Duke Blue Devils are peaking on the excellent time, and enjoying nearer to the likes of a 1-seed versus the 5-line the place they reside.

Duke dominated in Jon Scheyer’s NCAA Tournament debut, surging out to a 15-0 lead and by no means wanting again in a blowout of Oral Roberts. 

The man who powered Duke to the Final Four final season was greater than prepared for a return to the dance ground, as Jeremy Roach led the Blue Devils with 23 factors, three assists and only one turnover.

Scheyer’s staff dictated the sport defensively and on the inside, outscoring the Eagles 40-22 within the paint and successful the rebounding battle 46-32. Max Abmas, the ORU star who led this system to the Sweet 16 two years in the past, wanted 15 shot makes an attempt to achieve 12 factors.

The huge revelation for the Blue Devils: Dariq Whitehead is choosing up steam. The nation’s No. 2 recruit and prime Duke prospect out of highschool has handled foot and leg accidents however is discovering his kind on the proper time. He posted 13 factors off the bench in a sixth-man position that he appears to be comfy in.

The Blue Devils have gained 10 in a row and are 19-1 with their full complement of gamers. Could a Duke staff truly be flying beneath the radar? Maybe … perhaps not … however I’ll proclaim it proper now: This staff is my choose to return out of the East Region. The Blue Devils defend, have a playmaker in Roach and a supporting forged that retains getting higher. 

9. Auburn 83, 8. Iowa 75

Dangerous 9-seed Auburn books potential date with Houston

When Bruce Pearl misplaced Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler to the NBA Draft, the moment query for the Tigers was how they’d have the ability to discover manufacturing on the inside. 

So Pearl did what anyone would do lately: he hit the switch portal. He discovered Johni Broome from Morehead State, and on Thursday in Birmingham, the junior huge man dictated the Tigers’ first-round win over Iowa. The 6-foot-10 star put up 19 factors, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks within the win. With the win, Auburn moved to 10-0 all-time within the first spherical of the NCAA Tournament.

Auburn superior to the second spherical, and the Tigers obtained a pleasant draw with doubtlessly a house recreation towards 1-seed Houston on Saturday in Birmingham, simply 110 miles away from the Tigers campus. 

While it’s been an up-and-down season for the Tigers, they nonetheless personal a top-30 protection. And when Pearl’s group takes care of the basketball, good issues can occur. Auburn dedicated simply seven turnovers towards Iowa, whose season ends with three straight losses and a 19-14 report. 

Wendell Green tallied 15 factors whereas Allen Flanigan offered somewhat little bit of all the things with 10 factors, 10 rebounds and 4 assists as six scored in double-figures.

How else did Auburn win it? They held Iowa star Kris Murray to 5-for-18 from the ground, swarming the Hawkeyes with robust protection from the leap and holding them in examine from downtown at 7-for-27 from deep. 

With Houston star Marcus Sasser’s standing up within the air with a groin damage, it additionally opens the door for Auburn to have extra of an opportunity than they beforehand would have had he been absolutely wholesome. 

This will likely be a recreation to observe on Saturday. 

7. Northwestern 75, 10. Boise State 67

College basketball’s largest shock story forges to the Round of 32 

Northwestern was chosen second-to-last within the Big Ten preseason ballot final November.

Those similar Wildcats at the moment are one in every of 32 groups remaining in faculty basketball, as Chris Collins’ staff wore down Boise State to advance to the second spherical of the NCAA Tournament. Collins, who entered the season on the recent seat, was already deserving of a contract extension after Northwestern completed tied for second within the Big Ten standings and punched a ticket to this system’s second-ever huge dance.

Now, Collins and the Cats have a pair of match victories of their program historical past. How did they beat the Broncos? With the dynamic duo of Boo Buie and Chase Audige, who mixed for 42 factors on 13-for-26 from the sphere. Twice within the final 10 minutes, when the Broncos lower the lead first to 52-50, then to 60-56, Buie stepped up with huge buckets to offer the Wildcats extra separation. He has had that knack for playmaking and shutting for this staff, including 5 rebounds and as many assists to only one turnover. Audige, who’s one of many prime defenders within the nation, helped lead an effort to carry Boise State to only 6-for-23 from downtown. Broncos star Max Rice tallied 17 factors however wanted 19 pictures to get there.

It was a poised effort by Northwestern, which booked a date with the winner of UCLA and UNC Asheville on Saturday. While the Bruins will likely be favored, the Wildcats have choices and sufficient playmaking within the backcourt together with a gritty protection to hold in with UCLA. The model they play makes Collins’ group a candidate to be in that recreation if they’ll comprise Jaime Jaquez and Tyger Campbell. The season-ended damage to Jaylen Clark additionally hurts the Bruins’ probabilities on this match basically, though Cronin’s group nonetheless does have sufficient to make the Final Four.

2. Texas 81, 15. Colgate 61

Some thought {that a} 15-over-2 upset may probably come from Matt Langel and Colgate, which was making its fourth consecutive look on the large dance ground and was assembly a Texas staff that might overlook them.

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Think once more. The Longhorns held a Raiders staff that averages eight 3s per recreation to only 3-for-15 from downtown, whereas three gamers scored 17-plus factors as Rodney Terry’s staff rolled previous Colgate. 

Two takeaways:

  • Texas has a sixth man in Sir’Jabari Rice who’s enjoying in addition to any reserve within the nation proper now. A New Mexico State switch who was a part of an upset victory over UConn final yr, Rice’s successful expertise has proven on this Longhorns staff. He led the way in which with 23 factors, six rebounds and three assists in Thursday’s win, and he’s averaging 17 factors per recreation during the last 15 contests. As a lot as Marcus Carr and Dylan Disu impressed on Thursday, the Horns are particular as a result of they’ve actual depth and expertise.
  • At this level, Texas AD Chris Del Conte ought to give Rodney Terry the pinnacle teaching job in Texas. Terry took over after Chris Beard’s authorized issues, and he’s 20-7 in Austin since doing so. I get successful over a hiring cycle and that Terry hasn’t had as a lot success at earlier stops, however he’s proved one thing beneath powerful circumstances.

13. Furman 68, No. 4 Virginia 67

Exclusive: Interview with Furman coach Bob Richey 

Richey joined us to debate the Paladins’ gorgeous upset of Virginia, talking partly about his staff’s resilience after shedding on a 35-footer in final season’s convention championship recreation.

“It started with everybody staying together,” he stated. “Two fifth-year seniors that we know could have gone anywhere in the country, they decided to stay at Furman because they love Furman and they love their teammates. We all stayed together and it was a huge part of it.” 

Check out the total interview right here:

Breakdown of Furman’s win:

Madness. Fur-Madness … Absolute insanity in all of its glory. 

Day 1 of the NCAA Tournament wasted no time in displaying why it’s one of the best Thursday of the sports activities calendar yr.

Just two video games into the afternoon, we’ve got seen the sudden already occur.

In Orlando, Virginia clung to a 67-63 lead regardless of livid makes an attempt by SoCon champion Furman to tug off the upset. Just when it seemed just like the Cavaliers had been going to hold on to keep away from the favored upset choose getting into the dance … the Paladins struck for an WILD closing sequence to earn their first NCAA Tournament victory since 1974! 

After a pair of free throws by Garrett Hien with 12 seconds left lower the result in two, the Cavaliers had hassle on the in-bounds go, with Kihei Clark hurling the ball into the air. Hien picked off the go at halfcourt. He discovered sophomore JP Pegues, who was 2-for-8 from the ground on the day and 0-for-3 from downtown. 

Peques wasn’t losing this second, drilling a cold-blooded triple that turned out to be the game-winner as a Reece Beekman heave on the buzzer sailed lengthy. 

It was utter absurdity within the closing seconds, however take into consideration this: Virginia led by 12 with lower than 12 minutes to play in Orlando. Against Tony Bennett’s model, that may really feel like greater than only a dozen for many opponents. But not for Furman.

Mike Bothwell and Jalen Slawson, a pair of seniors who had their hearts damaged within the SoCon championship recreation a yr in the past by Chattanooga, determined to return again for one final experience in Greenville, S.C. 

They kicked the door down with revenge over the Mocs, and getting their huge dance alternative, they’re a part of historical past and a second for Furman University that shines a light-weight on what makes the large dance so nice. 

Beyond the gamers, 39-year-old head coach Bob Richey has been thought to be a rising star within the trade. He simply caught the eyes of the nation, and one can count on he’ll be receiving calls within the not-so-distant future.

The huge image: Furman could make the Sweet 16. Taking down a 4-seed in Virginia, the Paladins are getting the winner of San Diego State and College of Charleston. While each groups are absolutely succesful themselves, the Aztecs haven’t gained an NCAA Tournament recreation since 2015. The Cougars haven’t superior since 1997. 

Slawson (19 factors, 10 rebounds, 4 assists) confirmed towards Virginia that he will be one of the best participant on the ground. The 6-foot-7 senior is an actual matchup nightmare and a sneaky prospect who may get some flyers taken on him off this run. Beyond that, Furman knocked down 10 three-pointers. The Paladins have a system to make the second weekend. 

On the opposite aspect of this outcome, it’s the most recent heartbreak for a Virginia staff that had some struggles over the ultimate month and alter of the season. For Clark, it’s the sharpest type of distinction from what he did in 2019 towards Purdue en path to a nationwide title. The Hoos have seen each type of this match within the final 5 years. 

8. Maryland 67, 9. West Virginia 65

Exclusive: Interview with Maryland coach Kevin Willard

Following the Terrapins’ gritty victory over the Mountaineers, coach Kevin Willard stopped by to speak in regards to the significance of the victory to Maryland basketball, how the Terps saved combating after falling behind early, and the problem forward towards Alabama within the second spherical.

He additionally gave me a tough time for not choosing Maryland, saying: “The great thing about you going 0-1 is I saved a lot of money going to your wedding here in September. So now I don’t have to worry about traveling up and buying a nice gift.”

Watch all the interview right here:

Breakdown of Maryland’s win:

Ten minutes into Thursday’s NCAA Tournament opener in Birmingham, it seemed like it might be an anticlimactic begin to the large dance. Bob Huggins’ West Virginia staff led Maryland 19-6 and the Mountaineers had been giving the Terrapins turnover suits.

But it is a completely different Maryland staff, and a brand new period this yr in College Park. Thursday afternoon was the best reflection of what Kevin Willard has dropped at the fold fairly instantly for the Terps, as they turned the tables on the sport behind Julian Reese and took a 32-30 lead into halftime. 

Even after giving up a 16-0 run at one level within the second half to fall behind 47-38, the Terps responded with a 14-4 surge highlighted by Donald Carey, Hakim Hart and Reese to take the lead again.

With 5 minutes left, trailing by a trio, Scott and Hart delivered 5 straight to offer Maryland the 61-59 lead that they’d hold on to for a 67-65 victory. 

For Scott and Hart, gamers who caught by this system via an unsightly ending to the Mark Turgeon period and a interval of transition for Willard, Thursday afternoon supplied the reward for getting via these battles.

The huge image: Maryland has the Big Ten off to a 1-0 begin to an important match for the convention. Nobody may have seen the Terps being a match staff in the beginning of the yr, nor alone a staff within the Round of 32. An uphill climb towards Brandon Miller and Alabama is forward, however simply having that chance alone provides this system an opportunity that’s forward of schedule to shock the world. 

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Willard has performed a outstanding job in Year 1.

7. Missouri 76, 10. Utah State 65

Missouri wins first NCAA Tournament recreation in 13 years 

If you’re an athletic director at a faculty that’s sitting at dwelling proper now and never dancing, you’re analyzing your program intently. Why? Because turnarounds can occur rapidly within the age of the switch portal in faculty basketball. 

That’s evidenced by Missouri, which went 12-21 a yr in the past and was celebrating its first NCAA Tournament victory in 4,745 days on Thursday afternoon with a 76-65 victory over Utah State.

Dennis Gates, who took over a troublesome Cleveland State job and put the Vikings on the map, is now doing it in simply his first yr on the helm of the Tigers. He introduced 4 of his gamers from CSU over with him to the SEC, and on Thursday, Vikings switch D’Moi Hodge led the way in which with 23 factors. Senior Kobe Brown, the lone affect participant who caught round for the teaching change, had 19 factors and eight rebounds because the Tigers shot 7-for-14 from past the arc within the second half.

Mizzou will get the winner of Arizona/Princeton in a recreation that I consider could possibly be nearer than most, but when it’s the Wildcats, it could possibly be difficult for the Tigers to go up towards the nation’s fourth-best offense. 

That stated, for now, it’s a day for Gates, AD Desiree Reed-Francois and the Missouri board to have a good time bringing him to the college within the first place. A supply near Georgetown instructed me that if they’d been a yr sooner in firing Patrick Ewing, Gates would have been their man. Now, he’s put Missouri again on the map.

Meanwhile, for Utah State, it’s the most recent case of NCAA Tournament downfall within the Mountain West, which has misplaced 11 straight within the dance and has not gained a recreation since 2018.

5. San Diego State vs. 12. Charleston

Aztecs avenge final yr, alternative knocks for Sweet 16 ticket

A yr in the past, San Diego State was up by 9 on Creighton with 3:48 left. What ensued was a heartbreaking collapse and additional time loss that sat with the Aztecs all through the final 12 months. 

On Thursday afternoon, Brian Dutcher tasted his first NCAA Tournament victory, and it comes with added fortune: San Diego State attracts a 13-seed, Furman, for a spot within the Sweet 16 on Saturday.

The Aztecs used their defensive tenacity to carry a 31-win College of Charleston staff to 5-for-24 from past the arc, pulling away within the closing stretch behind Matt Bradley’s 17 factors and a trio going for eight apiece. 

With the sport tied at 53 at 2:30 to play in Orlando, Bradley drove and slammed dwelling a dunk. The fifth-year senior, who got here again for this very second, notched his first match win. After a cease, the Aztecs hit simply one in every of 4 triples on the day, courtesy of Micah Parrish. 

The win for SDSU ends the Mountain West’s worst nightmare. The convention had misplaced 11 in a row following Nevada’s First Four loss to Arizona State and Utah State’s defeat to Missouri. 

That streak may get washed away in 48 hours, as a result of the Aztecs have a valuable alternative on Saturday towards Thirteenth-seeded Furman, which knocked off Virginia with a miracle on Thursday. 

The Aztecs final made the Sweet 16 beneath Steve Fisher in 2014, after they went 31-5 and earned a No. 4 seed within the NCAA Tournament.

1. Kansas 96, 16. Howard 68

Jalen Wilson had 20 factors and 7 rebounds for No. 1 seed and defending nationwide champion Kansas, which allowed absent and recovering coach Bill Self to relaxation a bit extra comfortably throughout a 96-68 victory over Howard on Thursday in a West Region first-round recreation.

Self is recovering from a coronary heart process.

Gradey Dick had 19 factors and 11 rebounds within the freshman’s first NCAA Tournament recreation, his first profession double-double. Kansas, which has gained 16 consecutive first-round video games, is aiming to develop into the primary repeat nationwide champion in 16 years.

1. Alabama 96, 16. Texas A&M-CC 75

Alabama buried Texas A&M-Corpus Christi beneath an early 3-point onslaught, launching the NCAA Tournament’s prime seed to a romp even with star freshman Brandon Miller going scoreless.

The Crimson Tide (30-5) put aside their off-court distractions and buried 10 first-half 3s in a predictably straightforward win over the Sixteenth-seeded Islanders (24-11) at Legacy Arena, lower than an hour from campus.

Miller, the 6-foot-9 All-American who has been beset by questions on his presence on the scene of a deadly taking pictures, sat out the ultimate 14 minutes and missed all 5 discipline aim makes an attempt whereas coping with a groin damage. His earlier low was eight factors towards Houston on Dec. 10.

8. Arkansas 73, 9. Illinois 63

Arkansas‘ protection is an excessive amount of for Illinois as Illini finish a irritating season

A dunk by RJ Melendez lower the Arkansas result in 5 with 2:30 left, however a Coleman Hawkins turnover led to a Ricky Council IV dagger bucket as Arkansas beat Illinois within the West Region matchup. 

The Razorbacks’ ball stress was the theme of the day, forcing 17 turnovers and holding Matthew Mayer and not using a made discipline aim. Council, who’s taken on the lead position for this staff after transferring in from Wichita State, stepped up with 18 factors and 10 rebounds whereas veteran Devo Davis added 16. The Hogs solely shot 3-for-11 from downtown, however they gained it the Eric Musselman means, with physicality and quickness.

Arkansas will get Kansas on Saturday and may have a legit probability in that recreation if it may well stress Jayhawks level guard Dajuan Harris.

Kansas blew away Howard 96-68 earlier behind 20 factors from Jalen Wilson and a double-double by Gradey Dick. The standing of head coach Bill Self is up within the air as he continues to get well from a well being challenge. 

As for Illinois, Brad Underwood had one of the vital irritating seasons in faculty basketball. The Illini had been chosen second within the Big Ten preseason ballot, and whereas they did win 20 video games, they had been in the midst of the pack within the league and by no means performed constant basketball.

In six years on the helm, Underwood has accounted for simply two NCAA Tournament wins in Champagne. This Illini staff ought to have been higher than a one-and-done exit after hitting some dwelling runs within the switch portal final offseason. 

John Fanta is a nationwide faculty basketball broadcaster and author for FOX Sports. He covers the game in quite a lot of capacities, from calling video games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to offering commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @John_Fanta.

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